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Mol Cell. 1998 Oct;2(4):477-84.

DNA ligase IV is essential for V(D)J recombination and DNA double-strand break repair in human precursor lymphocytes.

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University of Southern California School of Medicine, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Pathology, Los Angeles 90033, USA.


Nonhomologous DNA end joining (NHEJ) is the major pathway for repairing double-strand DNA breaks. V(D)J recombination is a double-strand DNA breakage and rejoining process that relies on NHEJ for the joining steps. Here we show that the targeted disruption of both DNA ligase IV alleles in a human pre-B cell line renders the cells sensitive to ionizing radiation and ablates V(D)J recombination. This phenotype can only be reversed by complementation with DNA ligase IV but not by expression of either of the remaining two ligases, DNA ligase I or III. Hence, DNA ligase IV is the activity responsible for the ligation step in NHEJ and in V(D)J recombination.

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